Risk Insider: Tim Kania

The Need for Technical Expertise in Energy

By: | July 10, 2017 • 2 min read
Tim Kania is the Global Head of Energy & Construction at Aspen Insurance. Prior to Aspen, Tim served as SVP of Energy & Construction at Liberty International Underwriters, and has held previous underwriting and engineering roles at Munich Re, Starr, AIG, Swiss Re and Fireman’s Fund. He is a licensed professional engineer for fire protection engineering and has earned various accreditations from the Insurance Institute of America.
Topics: Energy | Risk Insider

Risks associated with the energy sector are growing in magnitude and complexity. Volatile commodity prices, an ever-changing regulatory environment, aging infrastructure, new technologies, and acquisitions and mergers are primary factors that impact risk profiles for facilities and systems in the energy sector.

The need for technical expertise to help firms manage risk in the energy segment has never been greater. Many companies are taking an essential proactive approach to address this expanded risk profile. On the carrier side, insurance professionals are assisting clients by bringing the full value of technical proficiency to support them, including risk engineers that partner with claims professionals and underwriters to assess risks and collaborate to provide custom risk solutions.  This team approach, coupled with a detailed understanding of loss history and prior experience of technical underwriters, contributes to a thorough client risk analysis.

It is important to note that custom risk solutions for energy clients require frequent reviews and periodic updates over time

There are numerous actions a valued insurance partner can offer to assist energy clients with a comprehensive approach to managing their constantly evolving risks. Risk engineers have historically been welcomed by clients to survey energy facilities, evaluate process safety management procedures, present recommendations, consult about capital projects, and develop loss estimates. Coupling risk engineering information with client and industry claims data can greatly assist the client to prioritize risk mitigation and reduction activities and capital expenditure.

It is important to note that custom risk solutions for energy clients require frequent reviews and periodic updates over time. For example, the recent shale gas revolution in North America has shifted feedstocks used to manufacture certain petrochemicals, creating pressure on the production of some that generate less favorable margins.

The systemic risk associated with a disruption in production and transportation of petrochemicals is therefore constantly changing. An experienced technical underwriter, aligned with engineering and claims, can utilize their broad industry knowledge to help clients ensure they have the proper coverage in place as the risk landscape evolves.

Working with a specialist approach to risk assessment in the energy space often revolves around partnership, since collaborating with the broker and client to fully comprehend their exposures can help to develop the most appropriate solution to managing risk. Specialist underwriters can deploy their risk engineers to suggest best practices on risk management and specific mitigation strategies to assist a client in addressing ongoing risks.

This technical process of risk analysis helps a specialist underwriter through interaction with a broker to provide custom solutions that address the complex risk landscape for energy clients. In doing so, an underwriter may consider offering additional capacity for a particular risk, or consider providing specific coverages to develop the right solution for a client’s unique profile. This collaborative approach aims to deliver the most long-term value to the client.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2018 Risk All Stars

Stop Mitigating Risk. Start Conquering It Like These 2018 Risk All Stars

The concept of risk mastery and ownership, as displayed by the 2018 Risk All Stars, includes not simply seeking to control outcomes but taking full responsibility for them.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 3 min read

People talk a lot about how risk managers can get a seat at the table. The discussion implies that the risk manager is an outsider, striving to get the ear or the attention of an insider, the CEO or CFO.


But there are risk managers who go about things in a different way. And the 2018 Risk All Stars are prime examples of that.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Goodyear’s Craig Melnick had only been with the global tire maker a few months when Hurricane Harvey dumped a record amount of rainfall on Houston.

Brilliant communication between Melnick and his new teammates gave him timely and valuable updates on the condition of manufacturing locations. Melnick remained in Akron, mastering the situation by moving inventory out of the storm’s path and making sure remediation crews were lined up ahead of time to give Goodyear its best leg up once the storm passed and the flood waters receded.

Goodyear’s resiliency in the face of the storm gave it credibility when it went to the insurance markets later that year for renewals. And here is where we hear a key phrase, produced by Kevin Garvey, one of Goodyear’s brokers at Aon.

“The markets always appreciate a risk manager who demonstrates ownership,” Garvey said, in what may be something of an understatement.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Dianne Howard, a 2018 Risk All Star and the director of benefits and risk management for the Palm Beach County School District, achieved ownership of $50 million in property storm exposures for the district.

With FEMA saying it wouldn’t pay again for district storm losses it had already paid for, Howard went to the London markets and was successful in getting coverage. She also hammered out a deal in London that would partially reimburse the district if it suffered a mass shooting and needed to demolish a building, like what happened at Sandy Hook in Connecticut.

2018 Risk All Star Jim Cunningham was well-versed enough to know what traditional risk management theories would say when hospitality workers were suffering too many kitchen cuts. “Put a cut-prevention plan in place,” is the traditional wisdom.

But Cunningham, the vice president of risk management for the gaming company Pinnacle Entertainment, wasn’t satisfied with what looked to him like a Band-Aid approach.


Instead, he used predictive analytics, depending on his own team to assemble company-specific data, to determine which safety measures should be used company wide. The result? Claims frequency at the company dropped 60 percent in the first year of his program.

Alumine Bellone, a 2018 Risk All Star and the vice president of risk management for Ardent Health Services, faced an overwhelming task: Create a uniform risk management program when her hospital group grew from 14 hospitals in three states to 31 hospitals in seven.

Bellone owned the situation by visiting each facility right before the acquisition and again right after, to make sure each caregiving population was ready to integrate into a standardized risk management system.

After consolidating insurance policies, Bellone achieved $893,000 in synergies.

In each of these cases, and in more on the following pages, we see examples of risk managers who weren’t just knocking on the door; they were owning the room. &


Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2018 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]